「結像のリナシメント」 (Yuizou no Rinashimento”)
“Rinascimento of Image Formation: Return of Phoenix”
I kind of get the sense that this episode of Steins;Gate 0 is one of those Seinfeld “You don’t dissect gossamer” moments. The more I think about how all this actually came together the more goofy and far-fetched it all seems, with the overall mediocrity of the last two months’ worth of episodes having a lot to do with stretching my credulity. But if you can get past that, Steins;Gate was entertaining again. And fun again, and Hououin Kyouma finally came our of hibernation, maybe just in time to save the series. And in the big picture, that probably matters a lot more. El psy fucking congroo…
That said, I do find the idea of Kyouma time-leaping 25 years two weeks at a time – until he gets far enough back that it’s only 48 hours, making the total number of leaps around 3000 – quite the narrative paradox. It’s hilariously preposterous if we’re honest, especially when you consider niggling little details like – what about the time the time leap machine doesn’t work and totally messes Okabe up? Why didn’t that happen this time? But it’s also quite a clever plot device, and a very evocative one too – especially when one factors in Amadeus’ involvement. Even now Kurisu is right there at Okarin’s side as he tries to change the world (and those repeated conversations were pretty funny).
In a nutshell, this is typical Okabe Rintarou – he’s really the Job of sci-fi anime. He takes all the punishment God can dish out, all for the sake of humanity. Yeah his whinging for 20 episodes did get kind of annoying, but hell, I think if anyone was ever totally justified in feeling sorry for himself and risk-averse it would be Okabe. Sadly, though, that didn’t really prove to be conducive to telling a riveting version of this story – and thus, when the maniacal laugh finally made its reappearance I can only imagine most S;G fans were just as relieved as Daru (and if anyone hadn’t seen the first series, maybe just as confused as Maho).
As one would imagine Okabe’s hop-scotch journey back through time was not without its complications, and frankly I’m skeptical anyone could endure that – even Lintahlo – and come out the other end sane. That’s if one considers Hououin Kyouma sane, but I kind of do – I always figured the whole chuunibyou act was just Okarin’s way of first trying to look cool, then eventually keep himself from getting too freaked out by the shit he was getting involved in. It’s also a great chance for Mamoru Miyano to show off, of course, and surely he’s had all that Kyouma bottled up inside him all this time, desperate to break free.
As dreary as much of “0” has been, there’s no denying that laugh has the same effect as opening a window and letting a big waft of breeze come in and clear the dust and cobwebs from the dank corners. However questionable his route to get here 001 is back, and he’s more 001 than ever. Maho of course having no idea what the hell is going on is pretty hilarious in her reactions, and I loved Miyano’s delivery of the “Member 009!” line. With Kyouma around, there’s never any question of who’s in charge, that’s for sure.
Unfortunately, as confident as this new-old Okabe is and as sure of his resolve, his calculations for the moment appear to have been wrong. Despite his having foiled Professor Leskinen’s plans for that rooftop, a helicopter (though this one looks suspiciously different) still shows up and blasts the time machine seemingly before Mayuri and Suzuha can escape to execute Operation Arclight. The destruction of the time machine seems to be a convergence point, which means Kyouma is going to have to come up with a Plan B. Happily that’s something he’s quite good at based on his track record.